Of the myriad rooms in the school, the staffroom is, barring the principal’s or viceprincipal’s offices and the doctor’s room, possibly the most hallowed, intimidating, mysterious and forbidden room, with almost all the simultaneous dread and intrigue of Bluebeard’s chamber. To the students, that is. To teachers it is an island of retreat from the chaos around. I will try to discover this contradiction a little further, and hopefully dispel some of the mystery the staffroom poses to those who have only known it as a student, and at the same time resonate with those who have known it as their haven between classes.
The staffroom is where teachers converse with each other, discuss work, eat, drink, and socialize. It is a place to work (office), a place to eat, drink, and talk (café), a place to escape to (refuge), a place to keep books (library), a place to store personal belongings (store room), a place to find out information (notice board), and even a place to teach (work), when other rooms are full (classroom).
The author is a freelance educational consultant and a former principal at AMM Mat. Hr. Sec. School, Chennai. She can be reached at [email protected].